Summary: RAID choices

From: Dan Stromberg - OAC-DCS (
Date: Thu May 01 1997 - 16:00:24 CDT

Here's the original question, a summary of responses (plus a little), and a
URL to a huge list of RAID vendors. The x's indicate non-negative
impressions of a product.


I've sent this message to a somewhat large number of lists/groups. Please
respond directly to me by e-mail. I'll summarize on each group someone
asks me to summarize on.

We're considering adding redundancy for some our disk storage.

There are a lot of options - we're interested in hearing general
recommendations, and some answers to specific questions if you have
the time.

UNIXwise, we use Sun, SGI and DEC machines.

We have about 130G scattered around presently.


1) Is there a software RAID implementation for Sun, SGI or DEC that works
   reliabily, and Predictably? We obviously don't want any surprises.

2) We want the ability to "grow filesystems", whether we go with hardware
   or software RAID. Are there any (hardware RAID)+OS combinations that allow
   growing filesystems without some sort of software volume management?

4) If hardware RAID would require software volume management to grow
   filesystems, would we be better off just going with software RAID anyway?

5) What vendor(s) would you recommend for your preferred RAID solution?


vendor recommendations
   netapp xxxx
      very fast, NFS, CIFS, http
      no NIS, so export lists must be maintained separately
   storageworks xx
      flexible, less expensive than baydel or clariion
      stick with Sun or DEC
      works like a charm. on sun server. we do only raid 5
   baydel xxxx
      fast, expensive, RAID 3 only
      great product, great support
      very good but expensive
      Fast, fairly priced, great resiliency, contains its own UPS
      baydel employee; very, very fast
   DG clariion xxxxx
      almost as good as baydel, multiple raid levels
      nice, expensive
      best raid-systems otherwise (from hear-say)
   disksuite xxxxxxxxxx
      stable, barebones
      if on budget of 0, seems to work
      no reliable, predictable software RAID for sun (probably meant disksuite)
      reviews are moderately enthusiastic
      never had any problems with my configuration
      No as good (as baydel), very complicated and ..., but inexpensive
      it seems OK, don't have enough experience to recommend or discourage
      works very well
      They're both pretty good (disksuite and veritas)
      seems to work fine
      rumor: sun may ditch disksuite for veritas. Sun says "maybe, maybe not"
      more appropriate than veritas for small numbers of disks
   veritas xxxxxxx
      nice GUI
      quite nice
      They're both pretty good (disksuite and veritas)
      a good product if you choose software RAID
      Veritas' new (in 2.3) disk sparing scheme is a mess!
      better than disksuite for large numbers of disks
      both times entire files systems were irrecoverable
   artecon x
      no experience with
   raidtec x
   sun rsm/ssa xxxxx
      rsm-2000 sun-only now, due to become multiplatform soon
      214RSM on a Sun Ultra1, I'm very impressed with the performance
      excellent volume management software
      stick with Sun or DEC
      Raid-5 implementation is still tentative at best
   SGI XLV xx
      RAID 0, 1, 0+1
      good experiences
      XFS grows well on top of XLV
   auspex x
   el-RAID x
   andataco xx
      andataco employee
   falcon x
   land5 x
   raidtec x
      Even in write mode it does well. It has hardware parity on an ASIC
      cheapest Raid solution we came across
      have fiber channel now
      VERY bad luck, CMD-5000 controller
   EMC Centriplex 1000 xx
      estatic with it. Excellent boxes, excellent support. pricy
      you get what you pay for
      problems, replaced with EMC after 2 weeks
   acnc x
      ad from company

software vs hardware raid
      avoid for high reliability
      On small RAID systems, sure you should go with a straight software RAID
      If the software breaks, you're screwed
      Software raid, are you serious? about performance....

      probably can't grow filesystems
      can be completely unconcerned about the OS/SW you run
      Hardware raid can be faster and more cheaply dependable
      had VERY bad luck with the CMD-5000 controllers, mylex ok
      easier to administer

Huge list of RAID products, no reviews:

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